Oliver Eardley is the Head Bartender of Ivy in Paris. He makes us two cocktails, one with absinthe and white vermouth and the second with Cynar and Enzymatic Carrot Cordial.
Oliver introduce yourself
My name is Oliver Eardley, I am 27 years old. I grew up in the hospitality industry across the UK with parents who were both general managers. I first began working 10 years ago. Starting as a Food Runner, I progressed through multiple roles from Server, Bartender, and Bar Manager to Group Bar Trainer in several bars and restaurants. Having found my passion for drinks and having honed my skills around the country and gaining qualifications in Wine, Spirits, Beer, Coffee, Sake and Tequila Legislation, I relocated to London in October 2021. I landed a job as a Mixologist at the American Bar in The Savoy Hotel. During my short time at the hotel, I also worked at the Beaufort Bar and took part in a Secondment within the hotel’s T&C department as a Training Consultant to help develop app-based learning for Forbes and LQA standards training. In 2022 I competed in the UKBG X JSS Great Honkaku Shochu & Awamori Contest and took home 1st place winning the title and a career development trip to Japan! I then became the Bar Supervisor of The Glade inside the iconic Sketch. During my time in London, I also began to participate in Wine and Spirit Judging for organisations such as the London Spirits Competition, People Choice Wine Awards, People’s Choice Spirit Awards and the Paris Wine Cup. In March 2023 I began my next adventure in the city of Paris as Head Bartender of the IVY Cocktail Bar in the 2ème. Since arriving at the bar I have helped to launch a new menu featuring 12 cocktail and food pairings with world cuisine influences, while introducing new techniques, flavours and products to guests. I have also been recognised this year as a finalist of Trophées du Bar 2023 in September and winner of the Coquerel Calvados Competition 2023.
The classic you want to show us
50ml of Normindia Gin
10ml of White Vermouth
2.5ml of Fernet Branca
75. ml of Peper Tonic Reduction
The bar you dream of
Right now my dream bar would be an elegant intimate bar with maybe 12 seats around a unique centrepiece bar top. I would like to feature products and flavours from around the world but present each ingredient differently. For example, our spirits selection would be made of your typical categories but from either different country origins or a unique distillery like Japanese Rum or Mexican Whisky. The ingredients would be for example a combination of traditional and modern or they would be created and used in a new way… citrus without the sour or Amazake made into a rice milk through the use of enzymes. I would also like to further the idea of a venue of discovery helping bar guests to connect and maybe form new friendships. This would be achieved through genuine intimate hospitality where we would use guests’ names to introduce them and greet them in a friendly open manner. For ingredient production I would just like a nice small stainless steel kitchen-style area where we have lots of surface space to accommodate machine, filtration, product tests etc and of course who wouldn’t like a nice walk-in fridge and freezer
What do you do in your time off
In my spare time, I like to learn new things… It doesn’t matter if it’s reading a bar book, doing R&D for a new cocktail, language learning or just getting out into a museum. I can’t just sit at home and do nothing. I like to go running in my spare time as well and I challenge myself with races every month and then to gain a focus and stability for training. I am no pro runner but I like to try and be active. Other than of course like most people I love to discover new restaurants and bars.
The spirit you like the most
This is a very hard question to answer… However, at the moment I would say Sake, Shochu and Awamori. I don’t have a particular brand but I like to use these spirits as it is a very interesting growing trend right now across all world markets. I have had a connection with this category in recent years and enjoy using them. Firstly they have such a varied profile, production, style and lots of storytelling behind each bottle. For cocktails, it has been a delight to try to create using these liquids as it has expanded my palate by creating Asian-inspired drinks but also it has allowed me to rethink how I use products traditionally as bartenders we would use Asian products for Asian-inspired cocktails. Now I try to challenge myself to use them in a more Western profile cocktail with a different flavour palette/template in mind.
What makes a good cocktail
For me, it’s… balance. Even if you intend to highlight a specific flavour or profile (bitter, sweet, sour) there is still an element of balance. There is nothing worse than receiving a drink which features a main flavour but it has no depth, no complementing aromas/flavours and is very singular because the main flavour has not been balanced with other elements, or you receive a sweet cocktail and it is all just all sugar… as in sweet desserts they still need to be balanced somehow even though they will have an overall sweeter profile. Compliment the sweetness with something like nuts or a touch of citrus to give complexity and depth to the profile of the cocktail.
What ingredient do you enjoy using in cocktail
As with my other answers, can I say what I find most interesting right now. For me, I can experiment using enzymes and this has transformed the way that I think about my ingredient creation for cocktails. When I want to work with a singular flavour but find the complexity or true flavour of that ingredient enzymes allow me to utilise more of my produce, extract more flavour and introduce a wider depth of flavour. This product also allows me to experiment with even the simplest of bar setups… I can create new interesting combinations and flavours just by using the sous vide technique, a vacuum seal machine and enzymes.
The signature cocktail you want to show us
30ml of Boboska Boukha Prestige
20ml of Cynar
20ml of Verjus
50ml of Enzymatic Carrot Cordial
Where do you think we need to go to interview another bartender
I would love to suggest that you interview the team at UNI in Lisbon! They are the latest extension of the Toca Raposa cocktail bar family but this venue is truly unique. Similar to my dream bar it’s a small intimate 9-seater bar with a truly elegant feel and an absolute art piece of a central bar. Their menu is about creating cocktails with a singular UNI-versal flavour from 10-15 ingredient combinations. So for me, it was a truly great experience to have met the team at a masterclass in Paris early this year and then visit during my holiday in August. It’s a must for all cocktail lovers! I hope it will be the next big industry glow-up!